The El Dorado Hills Tasmanian Devils swim team clinched its third straight victory Saturday in the meet against Cameron Park’s Sierra Sharks.
Though the Tasmanian Devils and Sharks might sound like fierce enemies, these two teams are more like family. The two teams come from the same beginning, separating in 1993 when the El Dorado Hills Community Services District pool was moved from where Bertelsen Park is today to its current location off Harvard Way.
Though TAZ won the weekend meet, the Sharks celebrated a very important victory. Sierra Sharks friend Zach Pickett chose this meet to make his recreational swim comeback after suffering a spinal cord injury last summer in a diving accident.
The Ponderosa senior swam the 50-meter freestyle to thunderous applause while it was announced he’d just returned from competing in the Paralympics in Minnesota last month.
Zach, 17, had one thing to say about being back in the pool, “It feels good!”
He has also has more reasons to celebrate; Zach just recently started walking with the help of a walker after being fitted with an Ankle-Foot Orthotic.
In the competition, Taz swimmer Patrick Sammon, 9, and Sierra Shark Miles Tresser, 10, have had a friendly rivalry since Patrick’s mom Kim can remember. “They are always neck and neck. Their seed times coming in are always within a second or less of each other,” she said. Patrick beat his personal best in the individual medley with a 1.17, barely besting Miles who earned a 1.18. Every race they had the rest of the day was just as close.
Head Taz Coach Jason Brown was particularly excited about the free relays later in the day.
“The 11-12 girls’ team (of Chloe King, Emma Mehl, Lauren Tilly and Payton Valencia) had an awesome finish with a come from behind win by Valencia,” Brown recapped. “And the 9-10 boys (with Mason Hagen, Ian Koopman, Ethan Mueller and Patrick Sammon) had a great finish as well. They were tied until the anchor leg of the race where it came down to a close finish with Patrick Sammon pulling it out for his team.”